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The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman
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The Magicians: A Novel (original 2009; edition 2009)

by Lev Grossman

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4,842414956 (3.44)1 / 373
Member:bragan
Title:The Magicians: A Novel
Authors:Lev Grossman
Info:Viking Adult (2009), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:fiction, read in 2012

Work details

The Magicians by Lev Grossman (2009)

Recently added byJesemos, kimg77, rebeccads83, Elpaca, morro3, DougJ110, m0usie, private library, aliceoddcabinet, oroxine
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English (409)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All languages (411)
Showing 1-5 of 409 (next | show all)
The Magicians is the first novel in the Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman.

Plot:
Quentin has always felt like he didn’t really belong in this world and has dreamed of magical worlds like the one in Fillory. But now his college time is fast approaching – usually the time to give up such dreams. But by chance, or rather by destiny, Quentin comes to Brakebills – a magical college. Delighted to discover that magic is not only real, but that he can learn it (even if it’s a whole lot of work), Quentin leaves his old life behind and throws himself into his studies and makes new friends. But if magic itself is real, maybe so is Fillory?

I heard many good things about The Magicians, with reviewers falling more or less over each other to praise it. But personally I was less than taken by it. I really don’t see its greatness.

Read more on my blog: http://kalafudra.com/2015/07/10/the-magicians-lev-grossman/ ( )
  kalafudra | Jul 20, 2015 |
It might have been a great story. I'll never find out for sure because I got put off by the writing style. I felt that the ideas don't come in a flow. From sentence to sentence one idea doesn't lead to the next. For example I could tell a story as follows:

"There was once a boy. He lived in a farm. It was a very vast farm with no other houses nearby. For miles around his farm his was the only house. And he lived alone there. He used to be out working in his farm most of the time. Sometimes when he was not working he would go to the nearest town - Carlos which was a day's walk. He enjoyed walking in his farm as much as he loved working in it."

Notice how each sentence is somehow connected to the previous sentence idea-wise. When you're reading it you're building up on what you know and each paragraph is focusing on one idea at a time and gives it a "light reading" feel. However, this Magicians book has a writing style that reads as follows:

"Peter loved his farm. Carlos was nearby. He enjoyed walking and worked a lot in the farm. It is always good to have a city nearby. In his house he was the only one who lived. He liked walking and since Carlos was the only city nearby..."

Notice the difference? The author's writing style is like the second one here. It's painful to go through and everytime you need to go back and re-read to know what exactly was the author trying to communicate.

There are too many diversions and ramblings. Diversions and ramblings are fine by themselves if they are relevant to the story or they're building suspense.

For example in the first chapter when he's chasing the note it's going all over the place. Then there's a description of - 'the farm and what flowers were there, how the poisonous ivy was also growing, it was amazing that it was able to grow among all these plants.' All these are "details" are added with the intention of immersing you more into the world. But is that what actually happens? No! This is what happens - "I read about the note. Cool. What is going to happen next? Farms, flowers... ya ya what next... poison ivy? Okay maybe he'll get poisoned somehow... how did the flower grow?.. okay it was difficult for poisonous flowers to grow somehow.. but why?.. anyway lets see what happens next... oh now we're describing the trees..."

The details for any story are helpful if they ADD to the main idea.

For ex I can write the same details as follows: "He chased the note but everytime he came close to it the note would catch the wind and fly away. It was as if he wasn't meant to pick it up. And yet everytime he kept trying to reach for it as it flew out his door and into his farmlands. He ran after it as it settled onto a tree among the wild plants. So he made his way towards the tree through the wild plants. The plants were thorny and flowery, beautiful looking and yet they could scar his body if he were not careful. But he couldn't careless about them. Right now all he wanted was the note. He pushed his way among the thorny bushes hoping that one of these plants weren't poisonous. The note felt elusive. What was on it? Could he get it finally?"

I hope the above review brings out what I'm trying to communicate about the writing style. However, you can ascertain for yourself on amazon Look-Inside and if you're not put off by the writing style then do take a chance. ( )
  MugenHere | Jul 12, 2015 |
I thought I would like this book a lot. I forget now why I thought that, but I did. :) I didn't. This book reminded me of a mix between Harry Potter (with the magic school) and The Wizard of Earthsea (with the events that happen) and The Chronicles of Narnia (the second part of the book). But it was almost all tell and no show which really broke it for me. I had a hard time making myself invested in this book. I probably won't read the second book, even with the slight cliffhanger the first book ended on. Oh well. On to another book that is hopefully more to my liking. ( )
  Kassilem | Jul 10, 2015 |
Not really Harry Potter for Adults. More like Harry Potter for depressed people in their 20s. It takes on a lot that Harry was spared: meaning, happiness, sex, political philosophy, life and death; but gets crushed under the weight of its themes in the end. Still, it deserves credit for attempting it in the first place.

I definitely preferred to Harry Potter, though. The writing was better, the magic was better, the characters were more interesting. It seems that people who like the fantasy genre felt betrayed by this take on their favorite concepts. Maybe they were betrayed. It's about time they were betrayed.

Just because you have contempt for "happily ever after," the solution isn't to replace it with "miserable ever after, but ultimately, not all that miserable because we're limited beings who forget and move on." I could say more, but I don't want to spend more than the 2 star's worth of enjoyment it gave me. ( )
  Gimley_Farb | Jul 6, 2015 |
Harry Potter and Narnia rolled together with Twilight, teenage drinking, sex and bad language. Who could ask for anything more? I can. I got half way through and still didn't really care about the characters or how it ended so I stopped and opted for Laurie King. I guess what irritated me most is that I truly think Grossman could improve on either Rowling or Lewis. Not going to happen. I guess it is complementary that he used so much of their stories, but then again, why not something a little more original? I did not feel any freshness with this book. To me it was like a high schooler writing an essay based on someone else's work, plagiarism seems to sneek in all over. ( )
  jenngv | Jun 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 409 (next | show all)
”Magikerna” marknadsförs som ”Harry Potter för vuxna”, men i själva verket är det en ovanligt vacker sorgesång över hur det är att lämna barndomen. Det var faktiskt bättre förr, när man kunde uppslukas helt av leken.
added by Jannes | editDagens nyheter, Lotta Olsson (Feb 4, 2013)
 
This isn't just an exercise in exploring what we love about fantasy and the lies we tell ourselves about it -- it's a shit-kicking, gripping, tightly plotted novel that makes you want to take the afternoon off work to finish it.
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Oct 20, 2009)
 
It’s the original magic — storytelling — that occasionally trips Grossman up. Though the plot turns new tricks by the chapter, the characters have a fixed, “Not Another Teen Movie” quality. There’s the punk, the aesthete, the party girl, the fat slacker, the soon-to-be-hot nerd, the shy, angry, yet inexplicably irresistible narrator. Believable characters form the foundation for flights of fantasy. Before Grossman can make us care about, say, the multiverse, we need to intuit more about Quentin’s interior universe.
 
Somewhat familiar, albeit entertaining... Grossman's writing is intelligent, but don't give this one to the kids—it's a dark tale that suggests our childhood fantasies are no fun after all.
added by Shortride | editPeople, Sue Corbett (Aug 31, 2009)
 
Grossman has written both an adult coming-of-age tale—rife with vivid scenes of sex, drugs, and heartbreak—and a whimsical yarn about forest creatures. The subjects aren’t mutually exclusive, and yet when stirred together so haphazardly, the effect is jarring. More damaging still is the plot, which takes about 150 pages to gain any steam, surges dramatically in the book’s final third, and then peters out with a couple chapters left to go.
added by Shortride | editBookforum, Michael Shaer (Aug 14, 2009)
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lev Grossmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bramhall, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I'll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I'll drown my book.

--William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Dedication
For Lily
First words
Quentin did a magic trick. Nobody noticed.
Quotations
That guy was a mystery wrapped in an enigma and crudely stapled to a ticking fucking time bomb. He was either going to hit somebody or start a blog.
Space was full of angry little particles.
He had no interest in TV anymore - it looked like an electronic puppet show to him, an artificial version of an imitation world that meant nothing to him anyway. Real life - or was it a fantasy life? whichever one Brakebills was - that was what mattered, and that was happening somewhere else.
No one would come right out and say it, but the worldwide magical ecology was suffering from a serious imbalance: too many magicians, not enough monsters.
"Never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink," he said. "Though I guess that presupposes that there is a wine I wouldn't drink."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0670020559, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009: Mixing the magic of beloved children's fantasy classics (from Narnia and Oz to Harry Potter and Earthsea) with the sex, excess, angst, and anticlimax of life in college and beyond, Lev Grossman's Magicians reimagines modern-day fantasy for grownups. Quentin Coldwater lives in a state of perpetual melancholy, privately obsessed with his childhood books about the enchanted land of Fillory. When he’s admitted to the surreptitious Brakebills Academy for an education in magic, Quentin finds mastering spells is tedious (and love is even more fraught). He also discovers his power has thrilling potential--though it's unclear what he should do with it once he's moved with his new magician cohorts to New York City. Then they discover the magical land of Fillory is real and launch an expedition to use their powers to set things right in the kingdom--which, naturally, turns out to be a much murkier proposition than expected. The Magicians breathes life into a cast of characters you want to know--if the people you want to know are charismatic, brilliant, complex, flawed magicians--and does what Quentin claims books never really manage to do: "get you out, really out, of where you were and into somewhere better. " Or if not better, at least a heck of a lot more interesting. --Mari Malcolm

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

As a senior in high school Quentin Coldwater became preoccupied with a series of fantasy novels he read as a child, set in a magical land called Fillory. After graduating from college and being admitted into a highly exclusive, secret society of magic in upstate New York, he makes a stunning discovery: Fillory is real. But the land of Quentin's fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he could have imagined for his childhood dream becomes a nightmare with a shocking truth at its heart.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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